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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Omemee - 20 Year Vision!

Tomorrow Today Session Results!

Omemee residents gathered October 26, 2011 to take part in the 'Tomorrow Today' Workshop Session. The purpose of the session was to get input from residents into the City of Kawartha Lakes Secondary Plan for Omemee. Today, the results of that session and the following online survey were made public by Michael Benner,
Manager of Policy Planning for City of Kawartha Lakes.
The purpose of the Secondary Plans was to identify effective and efficient development patterns and opportunities, while taking into account current municipal conditions, reflecting Provincial land use planning policy as outlined in the Provincial Policy Statement 2005 (PPS), and to co-ordinate with and implement the policies of the City of Kawartha Lakes Official Plan.
Each of five designated communities in City of Kawartha Lakes was asked to develop vision statements based on goals and objectives identified during public consultation sessions.Six topic-driven policy papers will be developed in order to respond to the vision statements. Finally, the Five Draft Area Specific Secondary Plans with all policies and relevant mapping will be prepared.
The summary released today, reflects the vision statements resulting from two inter-related community visioning exercises, the “Tomorrow Today” workshops held in each community and the “Community Vision Vote” on-line survey.

'Tomorrow Today' Workshop Process

The Tomorrow Today' Workshop consisted of two parts.
1. An individual and group visioning exercise, where they developed their own 20-year vision statement for our settlement area.
2.A “Councillor for a Day” exercise where they shared what they would do to make our community a better place if they were “Councillor for a

Initial Vision Statements

Initial Vision Statements put forward by the people assembled included the following:
“Self-sustaining for employment, recreational and business facilities with a line-up of people willing to move to Omemee.”
“To remain unique and beautiful to (stop) the traffic in a good way and support the history.”
“A small town feel while being self-supportive.”
“Have a lot of parks and recreational facilities for summer and winter activities; all are accessible for young and old, and can be connected together.”
“Activities into the evening to remain active as well as facilities for locals and tourists; a senior’s facility.”
These statements showed how residents have an interest in maintaining Omemee’s unique identity while becoming a self sustaining community offering employment, recreational and residential opportunities for its residents.

Consulting Team Consolidates Vision Statements

The consulting team, hired by City of Kawartha Lakes consolidated the statements above into two vision statements:
“Over 20 years Omemee will grow as a self-sustaining community, enhance its own identity and character, and provide employment, recreational, and residential areas for all ages.”
“Over 20 years Omemee will grow as a healthy settlement area with a small town feel, will expand recreational opportunities, offering activities for all seasons and develop services for all ages.”

Initial Strategic Directions

The following strategic directions were identified during the “Councillor for a Day” exercise:
• Increase pride in our community
• Lift development freeze
• Encourage recreational activities
• Create new jobs
• Provide opportunities to live and work in the same community
• Provide accessible housing

Community Vision Vote Flops

An on-line “Community Vision Vote”, survey was prepared to provide additional opportunities for input to the community visioning process. However, only one person responded to this survey process. Due to the poor response to the survey, the consultants hired by City of Kawartha Lakes drafted a final version of the vision statement, and chose which of the strategic directions would be most important for our community.
The lack of response to this online survey, should not be perceived as apathy towards the process, but perhaps an examination of the methods utilized in communicating the existence of the survey needs to be conducted,as well as whether an online survey is the most appropriate method for getting feedback in our community.

The final vision statement and strategic directions drafted by the consultants for Omemee are as follows:

Omemee- 20 Year Vision Statement

'Over 20 years Omemee will grow as a self sustaining community with a small town feel, enhance its own identity and character, and provide employment, recreational, and residential areas for all ages and seasons.'

Recommended Strategic Directions

• Increase pride in our community
• Expand infrastructure to create growth
• Encourage recreational activities
• Create new jobs
• Provide opportunities to live and work in the same community
• Provide accessible housing

City of Kawartha Lakes Vision and Strategies

The above vision and strategies were combined with those of other communities in the City of Kawartha Lakes to arrive at the following vision and strategies for our area as a whole:

“Over 20 years, the Kawartha Lakes settlement areas will grow as healthy communities, provide new employment and educational opportunities to its residents, preserve the natural environment and cultural heritage, develop affordable and accessible housing for the changing population, and provide healthy, active recreational opportunities for local residents and tourists.”

Recommended Kawartha Lakes Strategic Directions

• Encourage economic development
• Improve infrastructure
• Preserve natural environment and improve the water quality
• Promote recreational activities
• Provide accessible housing (barrier-free)
• Promote healthy/active communities
• Preserve small town feel and unique identities

Next Steps

According to the report released today, the next steps in this process are as follows:
'Additional analysis will determine appropriate land use policies and land use designations. This will then lead to the first draft of the text and maps for the Secondary Plans, additional public consultation, and presentation of the plans for Council’s adoption.'

We can only hope that the 'additional public consultation' will be more accessible to more of our local residents.

The entire report can be read online on the City of Kawartha Lakes Website, and it is also available through the planning department. Alternately, you may request a copy of the report to be forwarded to you by leaving a comment below, or emailing

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